November 16, 1951 |
|Batted: Right||Threw: Right|
|April 4, 1974 for the Oakland Athletics|
|Last MLB appearance|
|May 4, 1975 for the Oakland Athletics|
|Career highlights and awards|
Herbert Lee Washington (born November 16, 1951) is a former world-class sprinter in the early 1970s who parlayed his speed into a brief Major League Baseball (MLB) stint, and later became the owner/operator of numerous McDonald's restaurants and a minor league professional hockey franchise, and held a number of high-ranking executive posts on varied boards and organizations.
Washington became one of the world's most celebrated sprinters as a student-athlete at Flint Central High School and Michigan State University. The four-time all-American won one National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) title, seven Big Ten titles, and tied or broke the world record in the 50- and 60-yard dashes several times. He went on to gain further recognition as a player for baseball's Oakland Athletics, despite not playing baseball since high school.
Pro baseball career
In 1974, Washington was tapped by Oakland A's owner Charlie Finley to become the team's "designated runner". Despite having no professional baseball experience, and having last played baseball in high school, Washington was a member of the Athletics 1974 World Series championship team. His MLB debut was on April 4, 1974, against the Texas Rangers.
Washington played in 105 Major League games without batting, pitching, or fielding, playing exclusively as a pinch runner. He had 31 stolen bases in 48 attempts and scored 33 runs during his short career. He was released one month into the 1975 season. Washington is one of only seven players to have more game appearances than plate appearances.
Following his 13-month stint as the only "designated runner" in MLB history, Washington joined the professional track and field circuit and remained in competition until 1976.
In 1980, he moved from the Detroit area to Rochester, New York, where he opened an inner-city McDonald's restaurant. He added his second local McDonald's franchise seven months later, and in 1986 he opened a McDonald's in suburban Pittsford, New York. He acquired a total of five Rochester-area McDonald's franchises and became one of the nation's most successful African-American restaurateurs.
Washington was co-chairman of the Small Business Committee of the United Way, and was active in the Urban League of Rochester. Washington was named to the New York State Athletic Commission in 1990. In 1992, he became the chairman of the Board of Directors of the Buffalo, New York, branch of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and later was named Director of the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
- "Player Page". BaseballHistory.com. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
- Kawahara, Matt (May 31, 2014). "Herb Washington served as A's 'designated runner' 40 years ago". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- "Player Page". Baseball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 11, 2007.
- Spatz, Lyle (2007). TheSABR Baseball List & Record Book – Baseball's Most Fascinating Records and Unusual Statistics. United States: Simon & Schuster. p. 496. ISBN 9781416532453.
- "Herb Washington".[dead link]
- "Baseball's Only Designated Runner: Herb Washington". May 16, 2009. Retrieved June 2, 2014.
- Molaire, Mike F.; Jones, Marsha; Tanksley, Fred. African-American Who's Who, Past & Present, Greater Rochester Area (New Millenium ed.). pp. 193–4.
- Career statistics and player information from Baseball-Reference
- Inhistoric: A's sign Herb Washington